World Trip Part I - Road to Canadahttps://image.withvolo.com/c73421fe74f8ac2b165da6f7c1d36ce5/7e9ca663-0125-4567-b015-705b10fa9f06-b4319ef55c99c632bbea8278403189ff967d9b4d.jpg
North-Central Vietnamhttps://image.withvolo.com/ff1423a932d68c34a83ea9a6f123dccf/e2cbabed-f905-4dec-a4f6-f83c22388143-8285b7129fbe45eaeddfaa2b04328944be6f2f9d.jpg

North-Central Vietnam

Welcome home. Mabuhay! We're back in our home land. It's a strange experience over and over again to be back in a familiar place when you just came back from traveling from another country. In a span of 9 days, we've been to many different places, met a lot of diverse people and experienced a lot of new things. These are the reason probably why it takes time to process your emotions after traveling. Being shot back to reality and going back to daily routine is really challenging. Physically tired from the adventures, there's a lot of sleep to catch up and the stomach had to adjust to the normal food you've grown up to. Also, there are dozens of stories you want to share but it seems that there's not much time. You feel wanting to go back or travel to somewhere else instead. Yes they call it travel bug. Being a ‘traveller’ is a mindset that gains power with every day you spend on the road. Being displaced becomes a part of your identity. Being lost is your personal enlightenment. Travel has always been an exhilarating and important part of my life. Every phenomenal memory I have on the road has infinitely more to do with the people I was surrounded by than the actual place I was in. I love the cities I had whirlwind romances in. I look back fondly on the cheap, hostels where I stayed up all night talking and laughing with old and new friends. One realization I had is that if we were half as open with people in our everyday lives as we are with each other on the road, everywhere we went would be an adventure. When we travel it's normal to get caught up in the act of constant motion. What was meant to be a soul-searching journey turns into a series of famous monuments getting crossed off list. And in the midst of it all, it becomes all too easy to forget that constant movement isn’t the point of any of it. At the end of the day we’re all human and we’re all looking for the same core things – people who understand us, challenges that grow us and places that make us feel at home. Know that there’s a time and a place to keep going. Similarly, there is and there must be a time to stay put.

Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Iloilo International Airport
Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Noi Bai International Airport
Hanoi Old Quarter
Noi Bai International Airport
Ninh Bình
Hanoi
Hue
Ninh Bình
Hue
Da Nang
Hội An
Hội An
Hanoi
Da Nang
Thị xã Từ Sơn
Hanoi Old Quarter
Noi Bai International Airport
Hanoi Old Quarter
Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Iloilo International Airport
Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Aug 19 2017 - Aug 27 2017

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Backpacking Southeast Asia & Beyondhttps://image.withvolo.com/5c72988ee164a2b78c1b7dae85672b7a/67046014-369e-452b-b632-e3fae29d2578-617226c480af4ab0c07ddbee18625e3231ed1cc4.jpg
2gthr

Backpacking Southeast Asia & Beyond

We got the 11:30 delivery boat from suns of beaches to Koh Touch, the village 20 minute boat ride away. The drop off point was monkey island hostel which was on the end of the beach but edge of the village. The beach was looking nice but we were getting hungry and wanted to use a bit of wifi to arrange the next few days. There were tonnes of posters and flyers around for beach parties and Richie Rich's bar crawl. Biggest in Cambodia. After food we wanted to check out the 4K beach and then we planned to return to book everything. After a few pit stops at some beach bars and swimming we got to some kayaks. $50 deposit later and we were off on our way to a smaller island. We had ourselves a road beer about half way but after that we plowed through in probably record breaking time. We circled the small island in search of a beach to dock our boat but it was to no avail and instead did some snorkelling by the rocks alongside another Chinese tour boat.

Waterloo Station
Waterloo Station
Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport
Bahrain
Bahrain
Suvarnabhumi Airport
Bahrain International Airport
Don Mueang
Suvarnabhumi Airport
Don Mueang
Noi Bai International Airport
Hanoi
Nexy Hostel
Hanoi Old Quarter
Noi Bai International Airport
St Joseph Cathedral
Nexy Hostel
tt. Sa Pa
Hanoi
Hoang Lien Son
tt. Sa Pa
Tả Van
Hanoi
Ta Van Homestay
tt. Sa Pa
Cuo Lac
Village House
Phong Nha Botanic Garden
Village House
Da Nang
Da Nang
Nguyen Shack - Phong Nha (town)
Hue
Under The Coconut Tree
Da Nang
Hội An
Under The Coconut Tree
Hội An
Da Nang
Phnom Penh
Ho Chi Minh City
Phnom Penh
Krong Preah Sihanouk
Phnom Penh
Krong Preah Sihanouk
Suns of Beaches
Romduol Koh Rong

Oct 02 2017 - Dec 06 2017

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Lee & Natasha through Southeast Asiahttps://image.withvolo.com/727281d5391f247b77da4ce468ae2a52/0b11918c-ca68-4238-b7a4-4891eb9f612c-a25ccb7dc865e859929b8d17abece0c282a0d3eb.jpg

Lee & Natasha through Southeast Asia

We were better prepared today to actually leave Hanoi on the bikes. After picking up our bikes from the mechanic, we got full tanks of petrol, we ate, we packed the bags on properly. It still took us about 2 hours to get out of Hanoi because of the sheer volume of people there. It took us about 5 hours in total to arrive into Hoa Binh, the next city along on the way to Mai Chau. It was about 17:30 when we arrived and the torrential rain started. We decided to get a hotel because driving the bike is really tiring. I went out to get some food and manager of the hotel offered to drive me to the local takeaway to bring food back, so we had a BBQ mix on some rice and went to sleep. We will get up early tomorrow to drive the last few hours to Mai Chau.

Bangkok
Heathrow Airport
New Joe Guesthouse
Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
Thanon Patpong 1
Channel 7 Boxing Stadium
Lum Sum
New Joe Guesthouse
Khwae Yai
Erawan Falls
New Joe Guesthouse
Wat Pho
Chiang Mai
Bangkok
Julie Guesthouse
Doi Inthanon National Park
Julie Guesthouse
Chiang Mai
Pai
Blue House
Baankanoon Guest House
Pai Canyon
Red Orchid cooking and Massage class
Tham Lot
Mueang Chiang Rai
Pai
Tourist Inn
CAT 'n' A CUP Cat Cafe
Chiang Khong District
Mueang Chiang Rai
Luang Namtha
Chiang Khong District
Luang Namtha
Nong Khiaw
Luang Prabang
Nong Khiaw
Phonsavan
Luang Prabang
Phonsavan
Vang Vieng
Vientiane
Vang Vieng
Pakse
Vientiane
Don Det
Pakse
Don Det
Don Khon Island, Laos
Don Khong
Don Det
Don Khong
Pakse
Pakse
Wat Phu
Vientiane
Pakse
Laos
Vietnam
Hanoi
Cát Bà Island
Cát Bà Island
Lan Ha Bay
Hanoi
Cát Bà Island
Hoa Binh
Hanoi
Thành phố Hòa Bình
Mai Châu District

Mar 01 2017

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Bridge over the river Paihttps://image.withvolo.com/a26a9d3867ca56f528b7df7654aab4f6/9b4de17b-2456-4939-99f5-58279c943afd-668a88bed06ef12038d1b69aee831bd35aa6029a.jpg

Bridge over the river Pai

So our time in Pai has come to an end. As we make our way back to chang mai on a 4 hour drive carved into a monumental jungle backdrop sweeping our way through the famous "762 turns" and the only route to anywhere, such is the secluded nature of this little hippy jungle town. Pai pretty much is the end of the road for northern Thailand there's further locations north, but with Pai you set off from chang mai and have to come back to go anywhere else. There is no real other routes to anywhere. This clearly has had an effect on the place, when you've got bored of the jungle views, hot springs, national parks, waterfalls that are so slippery you can use as a slide (more on that expericnce later), what are you left with? Well it turns out quite a bit for such a small spot on the map. Odd little tourist spots that in reality would just be another place in any other destinations become tiny little mecca's for the stoned and tripping hippie crowds that have made their way from all over Thailand. And Pai certainly accommodates them, "the waking road" the main the vein of Pai carries people down a road jammed with street food stalls, hippie shops selling anything and everything tie died, motorbike rental shops...and most interestingly brownie stalls and smoothie stalls. Not all is as at seems however and lying under this chilled vibe are an easy access to shroom smoothies and supposedly..weed brownies. Neither are an area I have any interest in but it's enjoyable to watch peoole walk the streets with munchies, overwhelmed with array of food stalls. Watching an American man, who insisted on bowing to me and kissing my tattoo of Jim Hendrix (it got weird when he used tongues) high as the views from the canyon stumble about the road trying to find his rented motorbike are the part of reason I chose not to  partake. In case you was wondering.. he did find it (we saw him again the next day hugged me and called me his hero) turns out he found it... 3 hours later. It's when you escape the centre and head for the mountains that pai really shows it's true beauty. After failing on our first day to make it anywhere of significance on bikes. We met a group of fellow Yorkshire folk in a bar and headed out on more suitable vehicles the following day. After meeting a very hungover bunch of wonderful Yorkshire folk and one very funny Australian in the very ironically named "why not cafe." We headed to grab our scooters and a helmet which both where covered in scratches and holes, filling me full of optimism. I went for the more expensive 125cc motor which cost me an extra 90p to bring it to a grand total of £5...it would have been cheaper but I went for the excess cover to protect myself from a likely 3000 baht charge for damage. Something I put to good use about 30 seconds later after binning it into a lamppost. After a little time I got used to the steering with a rider on the back and we was flying our way through stunning scenery a rowdy bunch cheering and beeping as we went. On the way to our first stop we met another couple from the night before and our convoy grew. We arrived at the foothill of our first stop, a waterfall with a beautiful view. Not just any waterfall a waterfall covered with algae that by its shape and slipperyness allowed you to slide over the edge and into the water at the bottom. We all watched nervously as two young thai boys repeatedly flew over the edge and scrambled back up the rock face again. I'd all but planted my arse on the edge to go when a Chinese guy went over the edge hanging to far to one side he slipped out of control and smashed into a rock that jutted out. It took another good 10 minites of watching the Thai lads go without failure before I'd psyched myself back up to do it again. I parked myself on the edge making sure I pushed myself far enough right, as to not make the mistake as the poor Chinese guy who was still laid out in pain at the bottom clutching at a rock. I slid with alarming speed and very little control and landed sideways in the water below. I cheered up the guys at the top for the rest to follow but nobody dare until my very brave travel partner followed me landing exactly as I had. Then came the real issue. Getting out the small pool and back up. All the rocks where covered in the same slippery surface and made it impossibly hard to lift yourself from the water. We decided to follow the Thai lads path which was a mistake as they apparently where not young men but indeed, mountain goats. Some 10 minutes later we was at the top but had to cross the water where the strongest part of stream met the edge of the waterfall. I went first..and it went very badly. I slipped on a rock under foot and went hurtling to the edge of the waterfall backwards underwater and heading to jagged rocks below. I somehow managed to wedge a foot against a rock to stop myself going over and wedged myself in place. The danger wasn't over there however. I couldn't move, the force of the water was slowly forcing me over the edge any time I tried to move. Eventually after several close calls I managed to heave myself onto a dry rock and safety. We gathered our stuff exhausted from certain death. The stuff including my shoe which I had earlier stepped in a massive muddy puddle to my shin and which was still dripping wet and headed out. After failed attempts at finding the hot springs nearly running over two chickens and a puppy we headed for "the grand canyon". It didn't have the scale of the actual grand canyon to really get away with using that name but it did have some stunning views over the jungle. Everyone was exhausted but we wanted to see more. We left the group and headed over to the war memorial bridge. Built at the same time under similar conditions as the river kwaii it connected the roads for the materials to build the original bridge. The only really spectacular thing about is was the sense of danger you got crossing it. Made from wooden panels many of them either missing with huge human size drops to the raging river below, we quickly took some photos and got off it before a huge group descended onto it. We finished the day at a strawberry field that had turned itself into tourist spot by selling strawberry things and having strawberry statutes everywhere it was rather odd. However the food was good and it provided shelter from another storm. We finally got back to hotel, wet, sweaty and muddy and fell into the pool and then into bed. Both slightly bemused as to why we booked a beautiful luxury hotel to relax but barely stopped from a minute. However our time there has been blissfull in the those relaxing times and such a change from the hostel. But such is Pai the chaos started on the road in and continued all the way back to that same road back.

Chiang Mai
Pai

Oct 09 2017 - Oct 09 2017

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Taxis,Trains 
& Unicorn Brainshttps://image.withvolo.com/ae988aa897837c86e360d6d3ed01e7e7/735b784b-0d12-4f78-83e0-83237452dc20-9ab718a7188918452fb1bc67302c2928815818d1.jpg

Taxis,Trains & Unicorn Brains

So after a day staring at more horrid monsoon weather, we boldly ventured out with two awesome people we met at our hostel. Not to be dettered by rain or the taxi driver that.. like the rest of taxi drivers in Bangkok seemingly only know the way to posh hotels and major landmarks. Anything else becomes a game of haggling over the price of destination they don't know after refusing to use the meter their vehicle comes equipped with. Most of the time this either ends with them driving off and refusing to take you or driving around bangkok aimlessly until you either get there by chance or they give up and they lie and tell you, you are there when its clear you are indeed not fucking there..or actually anywhere for that matter. However we reached our destination this time by me using sat nav and using my best a Brit abroad way of pointing and shouting slowly. The destination so happened to be a magical unicorn cafe in the arse end of a flooded alleyway. stepping inside created instant LSD flashbacks and a noosebleed inducing migrane from all the rainbow splattered walls. The food only added to that headache as every meal was mainly sugar based rainbow based foods. I chose the rainbow waffles which arrived looking like a kevin spacey in Se7en esc masterful crime scene of a unicorn sacrifice with unicorn brain matter splattered all over the plate. The plate itself included rainbow waffles, rainbow ice cream and rainbow cream. These guys where amazing they could rainbow anything. 20 minutes longer and i fear my own unicorn horn may have been rainbow-ed like the polite people at the massage palours do. After ingesting all the unicorn cream which no doubt was meant to represent magical spunk we battled the taxi drivers back, bartered with a child over a pair of pink elephant hareem pants (for myself...which don't fit) And headed back for our bags and back into the taxi and traffic hell for our very nervy, rushed ride to the station and to our rickety as dicks 14 hour overnight train journey to Chiang Mai. Which is where i write this now. In my little coffin sized bunk behind a crematorium curtain, watching Bangkok fade into the distance as we pelt our way north. To countryside and calmness, after a hectic 4 days in southeast asia's city of sin, cheap pad thai, fried insects, people trying to sell scruffy backpackers suits, massage palours, ping pong shows, sex menus cheap beer and "very strong cocktails" which are no doubt just pure ethanol and red bull.

Manchester
Bangkok

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